Beth & Forrest’s Destination Wedding in Utah

* Beth & Forrest, Adventurers * Photographer: Amanda Summerlin *

My husband is a very practical individual. Most of the time it is a wonderful trait and helps us to do things like pay off our house in two years, plan grand adventures, and be spontaneous. Even if Forrest had known a lot about wedding “traditions” or what was expected of us, he’s the type that wouldn’t have really cared at all. It was really easy for him to strip the wedding down to its basic components. For me, it was all a little bit harder. I’d dreamed of my wedding as a little girl and although a lot of the things I’d dreamed of I had already gotten rid of, it was much more difficult for me to think outside the WIC box.

When we decided to get married, we had our wedding plans outlined pretty concretely. We had already picked a destination location and drawn up a budget. Our budget was designed to support our values as a couple. We try to reject the things we’re expected to do in life if they don’t fit our needs and choose only those things that are important to us. We set some clear priorities for the event. We wanted to spend less than $5,000. We wanted to be able to help house family and friends who were traveling. We wanted some awesome pictures of the wedding. We wanted a beautiful day that reflected our values of simplicity and adventure.

I was confident and happy about our plans up until a couple weeks before the wedding. I worried that I had forgotten about something, that I didn’t have enough things, or enough stress. It was really hard for me to grasp that not only was the simplicity of our plans going to be enough but that it would be absolutely perfect. As much as Forrest told me it was going to be okay, I just couldn’t see how I was going to pull it off. I so wanted my wedding to be beautiful and run smoothly and was terrified that it wouldn’t happen that way.

Once we left for Moab, a feeling of “It’ll be fine” took over. I hadn’t had a vacation all year and not only was this our wedding but it was an adventure! The hardest work I did to get ready was bake thirteen pies while drinking wine with my mom and aunt. When I was done, I got to go taste more wine with friends I hadn’t seen in ages. It was lighthearted and happy. I spent the evening drifting in and out of the house talking with everyone who’d come.

Our wedding morning felt a bit like every other Saturday morning we’ve ever had and a bit totally different; I’m not even sure we said “It’s our wedding day” to each other, but we felt it. Getting out of bed, we dressed for normal activities—I dressed for a run while Forrest got ready for a dirt bike ride. We sipped coffee as the sky started to lighten and the house we’d rented started to come alive with our friends and family waking up. It all seemed so normal to give Forrest a kiss and say, “See you in a few hours,” jump in the car, and run a race.

Back at the house, although there was lots to be done, it never felt stressful. As things needed to be done, I did the things I wanted to and handed off the ones I didn’t. A friend unexpectedly took over decorating the dinner table (and did a better job than I ever could have). I made my bouquet with the help of a friend’s daughter. More friends returned from a morning at Arches National Park and took over making lasagnas for dinner. What had seemed like both a lot of moving parts, and at the same time not enough moving parts weeks before, came to fruition like it had been planned by two type-A people with simple leanings…because it had.

By the time I headed upstairs to get ready, I was just ready to get married. I was pampered with hair help and free flowing champagne while I got ready and laughed harder than I had in a long time. My mom arrived just in time to help me into my dress. After our first look, my memories are a happy tumbled haze: I married my partner in a beautiful heartfelt ceremony, ate food prepared by friends at a table decorated by more friends. During our first dance I sang along with my new husband and grinned. I danced with my mom, my aunt, my new sister- and cousin-in-law, and friends. I ate the pie I made and listened to more than one person tell me that their favorite pie was there (with eleven kinds, it wasn’t too hard).

As we drifted down the hall, leaving our guests to enjoy the remainder of their evening, I had not a thought in the world for what had or hadn’t gone right. I was holding my husband’s hand, enjoying that blissful exhaustion that is most commonly experienced after long, tough, hike to a beautiful mountain top followed by a delicious dinner of pizza and beer. That was exactly the feeling we didn’t know we were going for and it was perfect.

The Info—Photographer: Amanda Summerlin / Beth’s Ring: Bario-Neal / Venue: A rental house found via VBRO / Beth’s Dress: The Wedding Bell in Tacoma, WA / Forrest’s Suit: Men’s Wearhouse / Forrest’s Tie: Macy’s / Succulents: Sanpedro Cactus via Etsy / Flowers: City Market / Rentals: Chairs, tables, linens, and place settings from American Rental Specialties

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  • Oh my goodness.. The photos.
    Pizza + beer weddings FTW!

    • hahah…we were actually lasagna + beer/wine/champagne. The *feeling* of that meal just reminded me of how wonderful beer + pizza is post hike.

  • Beautiful!

  • Claire

    Oh my. Love this wedding hard. Congratulations!

  • Melanie

    Like woah.

  • Amazing. Love it!

  • LifeSheWrote

    Gorgeous wedding! And I love Bario Neal jewelry! Congrats on making your day feel truly right for ya’ll!

  • Juanita

    Amazing Post. Amazing wedding. I hope mine will be just as simple, magical, and perfect as yours. Thanks so much for sharing!

  • Hannah

    Ho-ly crap! TOO GORGEOUS!! Those views. Wow! And the photographer did an amazing job with the night shots. Beautiful beautiful beautiful.

  • Fantastic! I love Moab!

  • “I worried that I…didn’t have enough things, or enough stress.”

    this! i think the only thing that made wedding planning so stressful for me was that i had this overwhelming feeling that it ought to be stressful. so i made sure it was. not by making things complicated – we really didn’t complicate it, so it was simple and lovely and perfect for us – just by making sure i stressed out about it without bothering with reasons to be stressed.

    also, lovely!

  • Yaaaaaayyy! Been waiting for this gorgeous wedding to pop up on here! Great grad post, Beth :)

  • Jen

    I don’t even have words to describe how much I love this wedding…don’t get me wrong, I totally loved my wedding, but I’ve got a teensy bit of wedding envy over here!! sounds like it was perfect :)

  • Trisha

    Your wedding was beautiful Beth!

    • Liz F

      Plus, HELLO, MObama arms!

  • Jashshea

    Amazing photos! Don’t think we didn’t notice the Coors lite can!

  • Gorgeous! The ring pup who looks like he’s completely tuckered out from the effort is just too cute :-)

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  • Moab is my husband’s favorite place on earth. I’ve only been ther once, but I find it pretty enchanting, too. We had a friend who lives there send us water from Matrimony Spring, which we then had blessed and used as holy water for special blessings in our ceremony.

    • I ran a race in Moab the morning of the wedding and stopped to fill my waterbottle at Matrimony Spring on our way back to Castle Valley! Only seemed appropriate. :-)

  • C

    These photos are beautiful and every one looks so happy.

    For those of you who have done, or considered, a destination wedding with a smaller group of friends and family, I’m curious…were you worried whether your respective families would get along? Or whether friends from various periods in your life would get along? And if so, how did you get over your worry, or remedy your concerns? This is a concern of mine–regardless of whether we do a destination wedding or not–but it may be particular to my situation (where fiancee’s family and my family aren’t particularly close, and friends don’t all know each other…)

    • That was EXACTLY our situation! Forrest had a few friends there that knew each other. My mother had MET my friend who flew in (but never her girlfriend). And that was pretty much it. It worked out FINE. Everyone has something in common to start with: you.

      It might have also helped that we rented our house for a week so people got to chill together the night before the wedding casually, the day of if they wanted to, and afterwards.

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  • It seems like you two got right to the essence of what getting married is all about.

    And oh my goodness your location was beautiful (although I’m sure you knew that).

  • Romantic!

  • Natalie

    THAT PHOTO with the valley behind you. Wow. Really makes me miss the West!

  • Perfection. :-D

  • How spectacular. Congratulations!!!

  • Oh wow I am late here, but this seems like such a happy, relaxed, fun day. ANd your photos are all amazing… beautiful place.
    I love how you stayed true to your essence, it all feels so authentic.


    This wedding looks lovely. :) We’re also going for a casual stress-free day, so I’m hoping that we have a similar outcome to you.

  • Looks like so much fun! And you couldn’t ask for a more spectacular backdrop!

  • Kimberly

    Can you tell me who officiated your wedding? Was it a friend or someone from Moab?

    • It was a friend of ours. He was ordained through the Universal Life Church. Forrest and I are not religious so we really wanted someone who understood what we did and didn’t want in our service.